DIDCOT, UK: As a green industry, the UK’s horticulture sector can and should lead the way in sustainable business practices and efforts to reduce climate change, says the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), which yesterday launched its industry-leading guidance on how this could be achieved.
Building on the strong foundations that already exist in UK horticulture and landscaping, the HTA has worked with its members to develop its first ever Sustainability Roadmap.
The modernisation roadmap offers an excellent opportunity to rethink the future of ornamental horticulture in the UK. It identifies five key challenges: reducing carbon footprints, reducing stress on the UK’s water supply, increasing circularity in horticultural plastics, actively shaping a peat reduction strategy by February 2021, and fostering innovation in pest and disease management.
Designed as a framework for collaboration, with ambitious targets for 2025, achievement against the roadmap’s goals will make a significant contribution to the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.
HTA Chairman, James Barnes, called on the industry to embrace the ethos of the roadmap, saying: “Horticulture has an intrinsic connection to the environment – we are a community who cares about the natural world and it is in our interests to safeguard its future.
“The Prime Minister recently announced his ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution – I believe we have an essential role to play in the Government’s plan to transition to a greener economy. As a sector which contributes around £24 billion to the UK’s GDP and supports over half a million jobs, we must demonstrate how we offer real opportunities for green employment and a more sustainable economy as the UK recovers from the impact of Covid.”
The roadmap supports the enormous strides already taken towards a more sustainable industry.
It will, for example, be central to making further progress in tackling issues such as use of plastics. The HTA has for some time been working with members and stakeholders to develop industry-led solutions for the re-use and recycling of horticultural plastics and with local government and the waste industry to increase kerbside recycling of plastics used in horticulture. The roadmap outlines a goal to see 40% or more of the combined weight of plant pots and packaging, garden chemicals containers, and growing media bags sourced from recycled plastic, by 2025.
They are critical, both in terms of their commercial importance to the industry and in terms of the potential for making a difference to the environment.
Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said “Sustainable business, the environment, and decarbonisation are at the heart of government policy. As we build back greener from the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to make significant progress implementing our 25 Year Environment Plan and accelerating our journey to net zero emissions.
“We welcome the ornamental horticulture and landscaping industry taking a lead on this through the Horticultural Trades Association’s Sustainability Roadmap and the actions being taken to protect the natural environment and combat climate change.”
The roadmap is a framework through which the HTA will deliver resources, case studies, data, training and services for members to enable them to increase their environmental, commercial and social sustainability. The organisation is encouraging all its members to join the sustainability journey to 2025 and contribute what they can, regardless of the size or type of business. The latest information and resources on sustainability are available at: www.hta.org.uk/sustainability
“Not only is it in our interest to collaborate on ambitious targets, but the climate emergency means people will rightly look to us for the highest standards. Sustainability can be achieved by balancing impacts on people, planet and profit. When businesses work towards this and all three aspects of sustainability are in place and mutually supportive, we can deliver lasting benefits to the environment,” concluded James Barnes.